Fring Launches Playgrounds, Group Video Meets Chatroulette

You know when something seems like a really good idea, but in reality, it's going to be hijacked by the less morally upstanding? Fring's latest video chat feature feels just like that, and we're sure it's going to turn out badly.

Fring has been around for some time now, offering cross-platform chat and video chat via their own apps. Their latest feature is an interesting one, and it's clear that they are trying to get more people to use their smartphones as video communicators.

Fring calls it "Playgrounds," and the idea is a simple one: 'rooms' based on categories, such as, fans of a TV show, in which people can join and video chat. Like we say, it seems like a good idea. But it probably isn't...

App Picks of the Week: Starbucks 2.0, fring for iPad, Tumblr 2.0, Glo Bible, TimeSpan

Every week, we select a few apps that catch our eye. These apps can be from the App Store, web apps, or jailbreak apps.

We took a week off last week, so we're back with an extra large dose of picks from the App Store! This time around, we have several updated apps that bring new features and enhancements, alongside a couple new picks that bring something interesting to the table as well. Hope you enjoy this week’s picks!

Forget Fring, Use TruPhone

Ok, don't forget Fring yet as it is a pretty good "all-in-one" app. But if you are using Fring solely for the Skype calls feature, then you might want to give a try at TruPhone, a VoIP app that was the first of its kind to be approved in the App Store.

So, what's so good about TruPhone? Well, I guess the best feature of this application is that it allows you to make VoIP calls from your iPhone to any phone in the world over wifi, and most importantly you can make calls even if you are not in a wifi zone. Now I have to admit this part is a bit shady. I had a look at Truohone's website and I can't figure out how this works exactly. It doesn't say anything about 3G or Edge but it does say that you can make calls even if you don't have an Internet connection. It's confusing but it still sounds great!

Fring allows you to do pretty much the same (and actually more) but the problem with Fring is that the app doesn't let you make VoIP calls over 3G or Edge, unless you implemented my Fring hack, of course... It seems that TruPhone is making this possible, without having to hack anything.

Let's have a look at what TruPhone can do for you:

Cheap international calls

The Truphone iPhone app routes iPhone calls over the Internet which can save you loads of money on international calls from your home country and on calls when you're abroad. You can look at the rates here. Calling a landline in my home country (France) is $0.06/minute but calling a cellphone there is $0.30/minute. All calls in the US are $0.06/minute.

Use Truphone Anywhere

If you're not online Truphone Anywhere can still route your call over the internet. So now you can make cheap VoIP calls even when you're not connected to a Wi-Fi network. How does that work? I'm not sure...

Free calls worldwide

Calls to other connected Truphone users are FREE, worldwide. So if you and your friends all download Truphone, you can call each other for FREE, wherever you are in the world!

Know who's online

A new feature lets you know which of your Truphone contacts is online. It's great news if you want to make FREE Wi-Fi to Wi-Fi calls on your iPhone because calls between connected users are always FREE Worldwide.

Receive calls for free

You can receive FREE Truphone calls whenever you're connected to a Wi-Fi network.

iPod Touch users for once shouldn't feel left aside. If you have a headset with a microphone you can also use this great app on your iTouch, which means that you can turn your iPod Touch into a phone!!!

Truphone is free and you may click here to download Truphone for iPhone or Truphone for iPod Touch.

One question still lingers in my mind though... Is AT&T ok with that?


VoIPover3G (that's Voice Over IP Over 3G) is what I think the hottest application that came out this weekend, and let me tell you right now, like all hot apps, it is only available in Cydia - that should give you yet another reason to jailbreak if you still haven't done so.

So what does this bad boy do? This MobileSubstrate library can trick any application into thinking that it is on wifi even though it is on a cellular data connection. There are a lot of possible uses for that, but for me the main use is being able to use VoIP programs like Fring over 3G. So no more hack necessary to use Fring over Edge or 3G.

By default, VoIPover3G is configured to to trick only the App Store and Fring but you can edit the setting, but in order to do so, you'll have to know your way around SSH...

As mentioned above, VoIPover3Gis available in Cydia. If you instal it, don't look for the icon on your springboard as it doesn't have an icon. Configuration settings are explained in the "more info" link of the app.

Fring is out! Officially

A few months ago I talked about Fring on my personal blog. At the time, this app was just being released for jailbroken iPhones. Six months and 3 firmware upgrades later, Fring made its way to the App Store.

What is Fring?

Fring is a mobile internet service & community that enables you to access & interact with your social networks on-the-go, including make free calls, live chat and seeing your contacts online presence with all your fring, Skype, MSN Messenger, Google Talk, ICQ, SIP, Twitter, Yahoo! and AIM friends using your iPhone’s Internet connection rather than costly cellular airtime minutes.

So far, Fring is the only VoIP app available in the App Store, along with Truphone, althought other similar apps are coming soon.

I haven't tried Fring yet but expect a review from us within the next few days. In the meanwhile, if you try it, please let us know what you think by leaving a comment.